Louie Louie! Google's Got a Vuitton Problem

By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2006-06-29 Print this article Print

A mixed bag of Google news from Europe this week.

A French court of appeals on June 28 agreed with leather goods manufacturer Louis Vuitton, ruling that Google violated trademark, unfair competition and advertising laws by showing ads for Vuitton rivals when people searched for Vuitton.

Google has to pay a fine of about $250,000 - chump change for the search giant - but the case has huge implications for a wide range of search and related Web activities. And the Vuitton suit is just one of about 40 similar cases in France, Belgium and Germany.

By suing Google, Vuitton is basically arguing that Web search is an advertising and marketing service for companies, instead of a research service for Web users. What's more, Vuitton Vuitton is also demanding restrictions on the advertising use of its name on all of Google's more than 130 sites around the world.

While Google has removed Vuitton ads on its American and French sites, as of this morning Vuitton competitors' ads still show up on other Google sites in different countries.

Meanwhile, a few kilometers away in Deutschland, where soccer fans are busily cheering their Teutonic strikers, German publisher WBG has dropped its petition for a preliminary injunction against the Google Books Library Project.

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